human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Call to end criminalisation of solidarity


joint statement

Download full joint statement


Together with over 100 independent organisations we are calling to stop the criminalisation of solidarity with migrants in Europe.

This joint statement calls for the new EU institutions to reform the EU Facilitation Directive, which currently allows Member States to criminalise humanitarian aid.

In particular, the signatories wrote:

Most investigations and formal prosecutions are related to the vague definition of crime in the EU Facilitation Directive which fails to properly distinguish between human smuggling and humanitarian work. But the European Commission has been reluctant to consider the links between the EU Facilitation Directive and the criminalisation of solidarity”

The statement also refers to a recent study by the European research platform ReSOMA which found at least 158 Europeans have been criminalised for their help towards migrants since 2015.

The signatories wrote:

The targets include volunteers, activists, NGOs, crew members of rescue ships, migrants’ family members, and also journalists, mayors and priests. The recent arrest of the Sea Watch 3 captain, Carola Rackete, is just the latest example of how people are being blamed for saving migrants’ lives and providing the humanitarian assistance which Member States are unwilling or unable to provide, despite being obliged to according to international and EU law.”